That Daniel Hope Thing

Forbes writer Jens Laurson has penned a brutal tear-down of the Daniel Hope ‘thing’.

Are you not aware? Well, truth be told, I wasn’t until this morning. Largely because I don’t read Norman Lebrecht’s blog where the story surfaced. I don’t know whether that says something about how I need to up my game, or whether it points to a PR strategy in need of a bit of a refresh. I’m veering on the latter.

It’s a straightforward story. Freelance content producer chappy makes a video which pokes fun at Daniel Hope and composer Einaudi by overdubbing a satirical track over pre-existing video. It’s called a ‘shred’ and, contrary to what Norman Lebrecht says, shreds are not ‘so three years ago’. Amusing, fun, but not at all to be taken seriously.

Things got a little heavy when some humourless individual (I’m actually presuming it wasn’t Daniel Hope but someone acting on his behalf) chose to interpret this video as detrimental to his reputation. The heavy mob were called in. Words like ‘cease’ and ‘desist’ were used. It all got a little ugly one presumes.

An open letter was then published by the blog editor (see the Forbes write-up for the text) and then, confusingly, Daniel Hope or whoever the PR person was, decides to write a response to Norman Lebrecht instead, rather than responding to the open and conciliatory letter in say the comments section on the originating post. There’s no reference to it on either of Daniel Hope’s social media accounts where you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s absolutely nothing to see, absolutely no problem, and absolutely no-one is riled.

Like Jens Laurson’s Forbes piece, I’m of the mind that this has caused a little more reputational damage than if the thing had been left to exist in its corner of the internet. Because the thing is, it was only when Hope’s response was amplified (on a platform read by far more in the classical music world than perhaps Jen Laurson’s) then we all became aware of it. That’s a massive fail on someone’s part.

But it also raises something more disappointing about the way artists are marketed by record labels.

I’ve seen it quite a lot over the past few weeks first hand: the conceit of a high-flying artist’s online persona, and the way its potentially at odds with the real person behind it.

Social media serving the needs of the record label or artists agency, not the actual individual.

The effect is to distance the artist from the audience. It projects an inauthentic image right at the moment in time when classical music needs to demonstrate a closer, more transparent and authentic connection with those who want to buy into their brand.

Daniel Hope is of course perfectly entitled to take whatever action he feels is right especially if there’s grounds for slander or libel.

It seems such a shame though, that in taking the heavy-handed approach and distributing it through a platform many more people have their eyes on, more attention has been drawn to the story than was necessary. In doing so the ‘social’ element of Daniel Hope’s social media has been revealed to be rather hollow.

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